28 March 2011

With My Own Two Hands (Part One)

Yesterday was my birthday and I tried to make sure I got to relax, although being the mother of two niblets does not preclude large amounts of relaxation. What I did, instead, was make sure most chores were done on Saturday, including a couple of "fun chores", which for me means baking and gardening.

It is still pretty cold here in central MA, although the sun is definitely showing signs of spring warmth. The beds are showing signs of spring too, as I went exploring.

Out front in the flower bed I found that some of the plants are coming back up! These would be some daylilies I put in (I really need to write names down when I plant them.)

I put in a strawberry plant for ground cover and it is already sending out runners.

These are where I put my bachelor buttons in last year, but they aren't the right kind of leaves. Wonder what mystery plants will appear?

I put in garlic last spring and lost track of the plants in the summer (also lost tops due to foraging squirrels and skunks), but they seem to be making a reappearance.

All this makes me want to get my hands in the dirt, but that means starting seeds! I did do this Saturday night, but it has enough details to write another post about it separately.

So, onto the baking! Last weekend I made a large batch of pizza dough for a gathering of friendly, like-minded, food-and-game-loving librarians, which turned in part to a surprise birthday celebration for me also. I do adore my friends.

We call ourselves Team Unicorn. We like rainbows. And cupcakes.

For the pizza, I use a recipe I found about six years ago in Cooking Light and adapted it to have two parts white bread flour and one part whole wheat bread flour, which I think gives it an even better taste. You can find the recipe on our group blog.

This weekend was in search of sweets. My friend Jen found a recipe on Annie's Eats for Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread. It certainly seemed simple enough, and I am enjoying working with yeast breads again.

The dough rolls out easily, but I wish that my non-stick mat was a bit larger. Yes, I know, I have a lot of orange in my kitchen.

 The recipe specifically states to put all the cinnamon sugar mix (all 1+ cup of it) on the dough. "Yes, really use all of it."

Why use so much? Because you are going to have SO FREAKING MUCH OF IT FALL OUT while you are slicing and moving it into the pan. At least that is my experience.

I put my genius hat on when I flipped the pan on its side to start stacking all those sugar-laden layers of dough together.

And voila! I wish I had Smell-O-Vision or Scratch n' Sniff images  for the blog. Smells that good.

I will tell my seed-starting portion of the weekend soon!


  1. Droooool. That bread must be consumed by me soon!

  2. Happy belated Birthday! It looks like your party was a blast!

    The cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread looks ridiculously delicious. I just got fatter looking at your photos of it!

    And don't you love it when mystery plants pop up. We had some daffodils come up this year that definitely weren't there last year.

    I'm looking forward to reading your gardening post!


  4. The thing that isn't bachelor buttons looks a lot like the Lamb's Ears I planted last year: http://myfolia.com/plantings/157810-lambs-ears-helene-von-stein-stachys-byzantina

    Just a guess!

  5. @AnneSee that is exactly what I thought too, but there definitely were no Lamb's Ears growing there last year, or before I ripped the sod up! I will post more pictures as it grows.